The NBA suspended the owner of the Phoenix Suns Robert Sarver for a year and fined him $10 million after an investigation concluded he had committed what the league called “misconduct at work and organizational deficiencies“.
The findings of the league report, released Tuesday, come nearly a year after the NBA asked a law firm investigating allegations that Sarveralso owner of Phoenix Mercury in the WNBAI had a history of racist, misogynistic and hostile incidents in his nearly two decades in charge of the franchise.
The accusations were reported by ESPN, which said that spoke with dozens of employees and former employees of the team for his article, including some that detailed inappropriate behavior by Sarver. East initially denied most of the allegations through their lawyers.
The NBA said Sarver may not be present at any NBA or WNBA facilityincluding offices, arenas, or practice facilities, attending or attending NBA and WNBA events or activities, including games, practices, or business activities, representing the Suns or Mercury in a public or private capacity nor have any involvement with the business operations or basketball of the two teams.
The league said will donate the 10 million to “organizations dedicated to dealing with issues based on race or gender inside and outside the workplace”.
“The statements and conduct described in the findings in the independent investigation are worrying and disappointing”, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said. “We believe that the result is the correct one, taking into account all the facts, circumstances and context brought to light by thorough investigation of this 18-year period and our commitment to upholding appropriate standards in NBA workplaces.”
According to ESPN, she “participated in instances of unfair conduct toward female employees, did many sex-related comments in the workplace, did inappropriate comments about the physical appearance of female employees and other womenand on several occasions engaged in inappropriate physical conduct toward employees… Even yelling and cursing employees“.
Sarver will also have to complete a training program “focused on respect and proper conduct in the workplace” during his suspension, the league said.
The NBA will also require that Suns and Mercury make a number of workplace improvementsincluding hiring independent firms that will focus “on fostering a diverse, inclusive and respectful workplace.”
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